The Most Mysterious Manuscript in the World

The Voynich Manuscript was discovered by an Polish-American antique book dealer and collector named Wilfrid M. Voynich in 1912. It was found among a collection of ancient manuscripts kept in villa Mondragone in Frascati, near Rome. The origins of the manuscript is unclear, but experts believe based on the drawings that it is European written between the 15th and 17th centuries and that it may be a book about alchemy. It is seven by ten inches, containing 235 pages minus about 30 missing pages.

The manuscript is filled with hand-written text and crudely drawn illustrations depicting plants, astrological diagrams and naked women. The illustrations are strange, but the text has proven to be more mysterious. After many attempts, it has yet to be translated. However, they have identified it as an alphabetic script with nineteen to twenty-eight letters which doesn't resemble any English or European letter system. There is evidence that it contains two different "languages" and more than one scribe, basically a code scheme.

The Voynich Manuscript has traded hands numerous times over the years, but it is believed that it made its' first appearance in 1586. An unknown person sold the manuscript accompanied with a letter to Emperor Rudolph II of Bohemia for three hundred ducats or fourteen thousand dollars. However, the first definite appearance shows Jacobus de Tepenecz, director of Rudolph's botanical gardens, as the owner in 1605. Since then, the manuscript traded hands several times. It's unsure as to how many owners the manuscript had due to a 200 year time gap where there was no records for it.

The letter that accompanied the manuscript claimed the author to be Franciscan Friar and polymath Rodger Bacon (1214-1294) though some don't believe he was the actual writer. John Dee a mathematician and astrologer at the court of Queen Elizabeth I owned many manuscripts of Rodger Bacon and was assumed to have been the one to sell it to Rudolph even though his diaries does not mention the sale. Because of monetary reasons, it's possibly Dee wrote the manuscript. Wilfrid Voynich was suspected of fabricating the manuscript himself but evidence eliminated him from the list.

We may never know what information the Voynich Manuscript holds within its' pages. Perhaps it is nothing but an elaborate hoax - a meaningless sequence of arbitrary symbols. For the moment, it remains in the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University, waiting for someone to unveil its' secrets.

Source: Crystalinks


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